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29 Jul 2021

John Reed & Chloe Cornish, Financial Times

Telenor confirms receipt of notification of OECD complaint; commits to comply with OECD and UN guidelines on business and human rights

"Myanmar rights groups complain to OECD over Telenor sale", 27 July 2021


Telenor confirmed that it had received a notification of the complaint from the OECD national contact point in Norway, and said it would be responding to it. It said it remained committed to complying with OECD and UN guidelines on business and human rights.


“We have thoroughly evaluated all options and conducted a due diligence on potential buyers in this process,” Telenor said. “Human rights impacts including data privacy have been a key part of our considerations leading up to the decision to sell, in addition to employee safety.”


Joe Issa-el-Khoury, an adviser to M1, said the concerns about the Lebanese company were “racist and discriminatory”, and that it had never “jeopardise[d] its ethics when it comes to human rights issues”. Asked how M1 would deal with any demands from Myanmar’s junta, Issa-el-Khoury said: “Let’s not get anguished by anticipation and let’s wait to see what the authorities might require.”

“The people of Myanmar would be left with two options” following Telenor’s withdrawal, he added. “Either there’s a group coming from the Middle East that’s prepared to take risks . . . or it’s the government who’s going to take over.”